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A Whakatauki for the World

“Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi” is a Māori proverb, or whakatauki. It translates into “with your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive” and carries my humble holiday message to the GBSN community. 

To be sure, I’m not an expert on Māori, People of the Land of Aotearoa New Zealand. I was, however, fortunate to have an opportunity to learn about their history and culture during a family trip to New Zealand in 2018. In my opinion, there is no substitute for being there when it comes to learning about a place and its people. Too often, we think we understand a country based on what we read or watch, only to discover important differences or nuances through direct experience.

At that time of my family visit, the world was getting to know Māori through the haka, as performed prior to rugby matches by New Zealand’s national team, the All Blacks. It’s easy to interpret the dance narrowly, as preparation for battle—unifying the team, getting them mentally and physically ready, and intimidating opponents. However, we learned that the haka is also used to lay a foundation for peace between tribes. And, although many think haka may be performed only by men, there are many versions that can be performed by anyone and some that are performed only by women.

It might be easy to think of Māori as warlike, but so much of their culture is built on collaboration, across tribes as well as within them. “Mā pango mā whero ka oti te mahi,” which translates into “with red and black the world will be complete,” emphasizes the importance of the community (“pango”) and chiefs (“whero”) working together. Kotahitanga, the Māori word for unity or oneness, describes movements to unify Māori on a non-tribal basis. More broadly, it applies to collective action for greater impact.

Cooperation and collective action are important to the GBSN community. To me, however, our whakatauki, “nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi,” goes beyond, because it is not necessarily grounded in “oneness” and does not require that we are similar or share the same objective. Instead, it is based on the reality that each person or party brings different strengths to the table, and that is essential for GBSN to make a positive impact. We are not built on the idea that business schools are or should be the same—business education is not a monolith. Each school operates in a different context and brings distinctive strengths to our efforts to foster inclusive and sustainable development.

So, there is more to my holiday offering than might initially be apparent. Of course, it is about the importance of collaboration, one of our core values, but it also expresses our commitment to context and commerce—to empowerment and trade. If you agree, please join me in sharing this important Māori message during the holiday season.

Dan LeClair, CEO

Dan LeClair was named CEO of the Global Business School Network (GBSN) in February of 2019. Prior to GBSN, Dan was an Executive Vice President at AACSB International, an association and accrediting organization that serves some 1,600 business schools in more than 100 countries. His experience at AACSB includes two and half years as Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, seven years as Chief Operating Officer, and five years as Chief Knowledge Officer. A founding member of the Responsible Research in Business and Management (RRBM) initiative, Dan currently participates on its working board. He also serves in an advisory capacity to several organizations and startups in business and higher education. Before AACSB, Dan was a tenured associate professor and associate dean at The University of Tampa.

Dan played a lead role in creating a think-tank joint venture between the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) and AACSB and has been recognized for pioneering efforts in the formation of the UN’s Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), where he served on the Steering Committee for many years. Dan has also participated in industry-level task forces for a wide range of organizations, including the Chartered Association of Business Schools, Graduate Management Admission Council, Executive MBA Council, and Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program.

Widely recognized as a thought leader in management education, Dan is the author of over 80 research reports, articles, and blogs, and has delivered more than 170 presentations in 30 countries. As a lead spokesperson for reform and innovation in management education, Dan has been frequently cited in a wide range of US and international newspapers, magazines, and professional publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, China Daily, Forbes, Fast Company, and The Economist. Dan earned a PhD from the University of Florida writing on game theory.